Architecture Professor Receives Subvention Award for Book on Early Colonial Buildings in Oaxaca, Mexico

Benjamin Ibarra Sevilla, assistant professor in the School of Architecture, has been granted a $5,000 book subvention award by the Office of the Vice President of Research, Subvention Grants Program. The award will support the book named “Mixtec Stonecutting Artistry / El arte de la cantería mixteca” to be published by the National Autonomous University of Mexico Press.

Ibarra, who was involved in the restoration of early colonial buildings in Oaxaca Mexico, had been planning for a number of years to study the three beautiful sixteenth-century churches of la Mixteca in southern Mexico.

Benjamin Sevilla

His curiosity for these buildingsarose from the extraordinary refinement in the construction and the outstanding ribbed vaults forming the ceilings. These churches have been recognized by art historians for their monumentality, the exquisite pieces of art found in the buildings, and because of their important role that they played in the historic events that took place during early colonial times in Mexico. Ibarra’s work looks at the buildings from a different perspective.

“The churches of Santo Domingo Yanhuitlán, San Juan Bautista Coixtlahuaca, and San Pedro y San Pablo Teposcoloula are unique pieces of architecture in the Americas, they are the continuation of the Gothic architecture on this side of the Atlantic Ocean.” wrote Professor Enrique Rabasa who is the author of the book’s foreword.

In order to develop his analysis, Ibarra relied in the latest technologies, which allowed him to analyze the buildings in the digital environment. This required first, to establish collaboration agreements with institutions and the government of Mexico, in order to obtain the permissions for the documentation of the buildings. Once the agreements were in place, Ibarra used a 3D laser scanner that created a 3D model in the computer. These 3D models were analyzed obtaining the information of how the vaults were designed and how they were built stone by stone. The study looks at the buildings from the point of view of the methods of construction and the transference of building technology necessary to complete such complex buildings. The methodology implemented by Ibarra is illustrated through sixteenth-century and eighteenth-century depiction methods in combination with digital models creating a number of attractive drawings and 3D prints.

Parallel to this book, Ibarra has curated an exhibition that includes fifteen models created with 3D printing technology and thirty-seven panels profusely illustrated with photographs and drawings. The exhibition is currently traveling through different cities in Mexico and the US, and it will visit the city of Austin in late 2014. “My goal is to place these buildings in the global context of the History of Construction,” has said Ibarra in his presentations about his research work. He notes his book “will be obligated reference to those who study sixteenth-century architecture in Mexico and those who admire the achievements of the indigenous people during this period of time.”

Cognitive Psychologist Art Markman Shows Us How to Create New Habits in Smart Change

illustration of bookThe New Year is on the horizon, and just like clockwork many people are dutifully preparing lists of resolutions that will likely be forgotten by mid-January.

Art Markman, a cognitive psychologist at The University of Texas at Austin, shows us a better way to make lifestyle changes in his new book Smart Change: Five Tools to Create New and Sustainable Habits in Yourself and Others, which was released on Jan. 7. Based on decades of cognitive research, the book shows how to harness the brain’s capabilities to adopt better habits – from becoming more productive at the office to curbing mindless midnight snacking.

We caught up with Markman for more details about his how-to approach for transforming bad habits into positive behaviors.

Briefly describe Smart Change.

Markman, Art 2011

Art Markman (Photo by Marsha Miller)

Smart Change starts with the observation that many people want to change their behavior, but few people really know why their brains make them continue to repeat the same behaviors they have had in the past. The more you understand about how the brain motivates you to act, the more effectively you can help yourself to act in new ways. After exploring the motivational mechanisms in the brain, Smart Change presents five sets of tools that you can use to change even the most persistent behaviors.

Why is it so hard to break a bad habit, such as late night snacking in front of the TV?

Your brain is optimized to continue doing what you did last time without having to think about it. So, when you decide you want to change a behavior, you are fighting against millions of years of evolution that have created mechanisms that want you to maintain your behaviors. The hardest part about these behaviors is that they are habits, and so they are done mindlessly. You are often unaware of when and why you are performing the behaviors.

One of the hardest parts about changing a behavior like snacking is that your first reaction is going to be to replace the behavior with nothing (that is, not eating). But, your brain cannot learn to do nothing. So, you need to start the process by trying to replace an existing habit with a new one. If you typically snack while watching TV, maybe you should take up knitting or do a jigsaw puzzle while you watch. That will keep your hands busy.

You provide a free Smart Change journal online, which includes a 14-Day Habit Diary. Could you share some insight into how journaling helps people change their behavior?

Much of what you do on a daily basis is mindless. It is hard to figure out the situations in which you are carrying out the behaviors you want to change until you can become more aware of when and where you are doing them. Spending two weeks just observing your behavior gives you a lot of insight into why you do what you do now. Those insights will be helpful when you start generating a plan to change your behavior.

In this age of instant communication, people often fe

el the pressure of being “always on.” How can this book help us adjust a balance between technology and our daily lives?

If you feel like one of your habits is to carry your work home with you, then you can use Smart Change to find new habits that will create a separation between work and home. In the book, I talk about how I took up the saxophone as an adult. I had to clear time and space in my life to add a new routine. Thirteen years later, though, my life is richer for it (and I even play in a blues band on Sunday nights).

In addition to productivity and time management, how can this book help people with their personal struggles?

Your motivational system does not care whether the behaviors you are changing are ones you do at work or at home. Your brain helps you live your whole life. The principles you use to help you to be more productive at work are the same ones that engage to give you a meaningful life at home. The book draws on examples of behavior change at work and at home.

In your book, one of the five steps is to engage with people. Why is this important?

Human beings are social creatures. We are wired to adopt the goals of the people around us. If you spend time with people who have the habits you want to develop, it will naturally lead you to adopt the same goals. One important thing you can do is to find a mentor—someone who has the aspects of your life that you want. Then, spend time with that person and get to know how that person succeeds. Use their wisdom to help you make changes in your own life.

Once your readers follow the steps and successfully change their behavior, how can they pay it forward to others?

After you have your own success changing your behavior, it is time to be one of those people in the community who has the life that other people want. When you become a mentor for other people who are trying to change their behavior, it also helps you to recognize aspects of your own behavior that you still want to improve. Being a mentor can give you added motivation to continue to move forward in your own life.

What sets this book apart from other behavior modification self-help books?

There are a lot of books out there on habits and behavior change. Some of the books describe how people form habits, but they don’t provide specific tools to help you change. Other books present a model of behavior change that is presented as a one-size-fits-all approach to developing new behaviors.

Smart Change is different, because it roots everything in the science of psychology. The first two chapters help you to understand the aspects of your brain that influence your behavior. Only then do I introduce tools to help you to change your behavior. Each of those tools has an evidence base behind it. In addition, each tool requires some work. It isn’t enough just to read about changing your behavior. You have to be active in your own change. The book comes along with a Smart Change Journal that you can use to take a comprehensive approach to changing behavior.

Finally, the book ends by pointing out that all of the tools that you use to change your own behavior can also be used to influence the behavior of the people around you. Real persuasion does not involve constructing arguments to convince people that a particular course of action is the right one. Instead, it requires the development of a plan that will ultimately change people’s behavior.

Art Markman is the Annabel Irion Worsham Centennial Professor of Psychology and Marketing and founding director of the program in the Human Dimensions of Organizations. His recent book, Smart Thinking, presents a three-part formula to show readers how to develop “smart habits,” how to acquire high quality knowledge, and how to use that knowledge when it’s needed. He is also on the scientific advisory boards for The Dr. Phil Show and The Dr. Oz Show.

Prof. Robin Moore to translate Cuban music author’s essays to English for first time

Robin Moore

Robin Moore

Robin Moore, professor of ethnomusicology in the Butler School of Music, has been granted a $5,000 book subvention award by the UT Office of the Vice President for Research’s Subvention Grants Program in support of an annotated translation of the works of Cuban music author Fernando Ortiz (1881-1969), to be published by Temple University Press.

Moore, who has been the editor of Latin American Music Review since 2005, had been considering taking the project on for about five years. He was encouraged by a colleague who is the editor of a series on Latin American music at Temple Press to pursue the project, which meant contacting the heirs of author Ortiz in Spain, making selections of his writings for inclusion, and vetting the idea with the Temple Press editorial board. The working title is Fernando Ortiz on Music: Selected Writings on Afro-Cuban Expressive Culture.

“Cuban music has wide popularity, and thus Ortiz’s work will interest a general readership of fans and performers,” wrote Moore in his prospectus. “Beyond this, the text will prove useful to students of Cuban studies, Caribbean studies, Latin American studies, African diaspora studies, ethnomusicology, cultural anthropology, and related fields.”

Ortiz has received recognition as the instigator and early advocate of Afro-Cuban studies; he founded the Society of Afrocuban Studies in Havana in 1937, and organized and edited periodicals dedicated to the investigation of Cuban traditional arts. Yet despite his importance, most of Ortiz’s works on music—which in fact constitute the majority of what he published—have never been translated into English.

Moore will translate several of Ortiz’s essays, including shorter instrument essays on various types of percussion, as well as others on songs, dances, ritual processions and ceremonies in which specific forms of music derived from Yoruba, Kongo, and other West African groups is a central component. To preface the book, Moore will write an extended essay outlining the scope of Ortiz’s inquiries as well as the author’s origins of source material, his changing attitude towards Afro-Cuban expressive arts, and his interactions with academic co-collaborators.

Moore notes his book “could serve as a supplemental text for those teaching on the history of ideas in the Caribbean and Latin America, and those interested in debates over race, culture, and society.”

Poets Nye, Fountain and McGriff on Campus Dec. 5

visiting writersThe UT Michener Center for Writers will host an evening with our visiting poets and alums NAOMI SHIHAB NYECARRIE FOUNTAIN, and MICHAEL MCGRIFF on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 7:30 pm in the Avaya Auditorium, POB 2.302.  San Antonio native Nye is a force of nature in American poetry who has taught for the Michener Center numerous times over the years.  Fountain and McGriff are distinguished alums who are teaching for UT’s Department of English New Writers Project and the MCW, respectively, this fall.

The Peter O’Donnell building, formerly known as the ACES building, is on the southeast corner of 24th and Speedway on UT Campus.  Parking is available in the nearby UT garage at San Jacinto and 24th.

 

Dec. 7: Humanities Texas Holiday Book Fair

Love reading? Need a great present for those bibliophiles on your holiday list? Want to meet some talented Texas authors? Come by the Byrne-Reed House (1410 Rio Grande Street) for Humanities Texas’s fifth annual Holiday Book Fair, which will take place on Saturday, December 7, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

bkfair_flyer_13_proceeds_FINAL

Noteworthy authors participating in this year’s festive event include Bill Minutaglio, Steven Harrigan, Nick Kotz, Joe Nick Patoski, Chase Untermeyer, Jesús F. de la Teja, Jerome Loving, Ricardo C. Ainslie, Sarah Cortez, Nan Cuba, Diana Lopez, Hector Ruiz, Don Tate, and Andrea White. Authors will visit with holiday shoppers and sign copies of their latest books, which Humanities Texas will have available for purchase at a discounted price. Or simply come by for good conversation and delicious homemade baked goods and hot coffee. Free parking will be available in the St. Martin’s Lutheran Church lot on the northwest corner of 15th and Rio Grande Streets. All proceeds from the book fair and bake sale will benefit Austin flood victims.

Visit www.humanitiestexas.org, contact us at 512-440-1991, or find us on Facebook or Twitter for more details about this event.

Deadline for Hamilton Book Awards Program Jan. 7, 2014

THE HAMILTON BOOK AWARDS PROGRAM, sponsored by the University Co-operative Society, is accepting all books, including scholarly monographs, creative works (e.g., novels and anthologies of poetry), exhibition catalogs, textbooks, and edited collections published in calendar year 2013 by university faculty and staff. Deadline is Jan. 7, 2014.

Information and application form for this program is available at the Vice President for Research website:

http://www.utexas.edu/research/resources/awards-fellowships-grants. We are unable to accept late submissions due to tight review schedules. Please direct questions to liza@austin.utexas.edu or 471-2877.

Michener Center reading by 2013 residency author Colm Toibin

The University of Texas at Austin Michener Center for Writers will host a reading by our fall 2013 residency author, COLM TOIBIN, on Thursday, September 19, 2013 at 7:30 pm in the Avaya Auditorium, POB 2.302.

Toibin, a native of Ireland, is the author of two novels shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Blackwater Lightship and The Master, as well as Brooklyn, 2009 Costa Novel of the Year, The Empty Family, a collection of stories, and The Testament of Mary, adapted to stage on Broadway this past year.  He is as well a prolific essayist and journalist.

The Peter O’Donnell building, formerly known as the ACES building, is on the southeast corner of 24th and Speedway on UT Campus.  Parking is available in the nearby UT garage at San Jacinto and 24th.

UT Press’ Texas Bookshelf to capture the state’s culture and history

Texas Bookshelf is a major initiative by UT Press that will chronicle the Texas mystique and the state’s history through a series of 16 books over five years. According to Brady Dyer, UT Press marketing, communications and sales manager, this is the first such project undertaken by a university press to capture the culture and history of a state in such an in-depth way.

Stephen Harrigan, NY Times bestselling author and a professor in the University of Texas at Austin Michener Center for Writing will pen write the first book, a full-length history of Texas. Harrigan said, “My goal is to make the events of the modern history of Texas–the Kennedy assassination, the moon landing, the collapse of Enron–as compelling to read about as the siege of the Alamo or the Comanche wars.”

authors of Texas Bookshelf books

UT Austin faculty who will pen the 16 titles as part of the Texas Bookshelf.

Fifteen additional titles will follow Harrigan’s. All are to be written by UT Austin faculty and will focus on such topics as politics, art, architecture, film, music, photography, sports, fodoways, business, books and theatre as well as the African American experience, a history of the Texas Borderlands and the Tejano/a experience. Read more about the project and the participating faculty authors on the UT Press blog.

TILTS to host poet, novelist Gerald Vizenor on Sept. 5

Gerald Vizenor

Gerald Vizenor

The Texas Institute for Literary & Textual Studies (TILTS) welcomes the prolific poet and novelist Gerald Vizenor, a citizen of the White Earth Nation in Minnesota, for a public lecture on Survivance and Totemic Motion in Native American Indian Literature and Art. The lecture will be held in the Prothro Theater at the Harry Ransom Center on Thursday, September 5, at 3:30. A reception will follow in the Tom Lea Room, where the exhibit Native American Literature at the Harry Ransom Center will be on display.

The 2013-2014 edition of TILTS, Reading Race in Literature & Film, brings together scholars, artists, filmmakers, and writers for conversations about the ways that we experience race and ethnicity. As the leading theorist of Native American identity and representation, Vizenor has had a profound influence on indigenous, cultural, and literary studies. He was also a delegate to the White Earth Constitutional Convention and the principal writer of the new Constitution of the White Earth Nation in Minnesota. He is a professor emeritus at University California Berkley and currently professor of American Studies at the University of New Mexico.

About TILTS

TILTS is an annual, multidisciplinary initiative that showcases dynamic scholarship in literary and textual based studies. TILTS is sponsored by the Office of the President, the Vice-Provost, the College of Liberal Arts, and the Department of English of The University of Texas at Austin. Co-sponsors for this event include: Native American and Indigenous Studies, the Humanities Institute, and the Harry Ransom Center.

Writer Don DeLillo speaks on campus this Thursday

A page from the first draft of Don DeLillo's "Underworld."

A page from the first draft of Don DeLillo's "Underworld."

In conjunction with the Literature and Sport exhibition, Don DeLillo, author of Underworld, Pafko at the Wall, and End Zone, reads from his work on Thursday, July 25, at 7 p.m. in Jessen Auditorium in Homer Rainey Hall at The University of Texas at Austin. DeLillo’s archive resides at the Harry Ransom Center.

DeLillo is the author of 15 novels, including Falling Man, White Noise, and Libra. He has won the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the Jerusalem Prize for his complete body of work, and the William Dean Howells Medal from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, among other honors. This spring he was named the first recipient of the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction.

The event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited, and doors open at 6:20 p.m. for Ransom Center members and at 6:30 p.m. for the general public.

Stop by the Ransom Center’s visitor desk and sign up for eNews between 5 and 6:30 p.m.* on Thursday, July 25 to receive a copy of Don DeLillo’s novel Underworld. Don DeLillo’s reading follows at 7 p.m at Jessen Auditorium.

Materials from the novel are highlighted in the exhibition Literature and Sport, on view through August 4.

*While supplies last, one book per person.